Skip to main content
10:00 pm
>> everybody wants to know my prifrt life. >> even porn stars. >> i'm going to put a tax on breast implants instead. >> they all want to go into politics. i say go ahead. knock yourself out. be honest. did anyone feel culturally bereft when these guys left television? >> i haven't felt this awful since we saw that ronald reagan show. >> the world of politics is like a bad actor's game preserve. >> we cannot wait until the final proof, the smoking gun. it could come in the form of a mushroom cloud. >> alec bald rin is literally too good for this. >> as you all know, first prize cadillac el dorado. second prize, set of steak knives. >> if alec baldwin wants to be a player on the national political stage, he's going to need to give up being smart and funny on
10:01 pm
tv and make a few movies like "kindergarten cop." >> who is your daddy and what does he do? >> then he has to become a republican. then he'll need to be elected governor someplace. serve for, i don't know, a year and a half, then quit. >> some straight talk for some, just some in the media. >> after that, the sky's the limit. >> i will not have it. "30 rock" too funny. i'll campaign against it because i like "30 rock" too much. "playboy" magazine, that staunch bastion of political reporting. >> there it is. >> bye-bye, kent. >> thanks for watching. i'm alison stewart in for rachel maddow. "countdown with keith olbermann" starts right now. good night. which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
10:02 pm
cheney doesn't know diddly. the individuals subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques provided the bulk of intelligence we gained about al qaeda. but that bit of sophistry only proves our spanish inquisition, people who talked were tortured, not that people who were tortured talked or talked the truth. health care. the republican logic elevator no longer goes all the way up. >> i oppose the public option because our -- one of the principles that we follow is we want people to have choice. >> uh, option, choice -- never mind. >> my husband has traumatic brain injury. his health insurance will not cover him. >> the idea that the government is a solution it our problems in an inaccurate -- a very inaccurate statement. >> and he is a doctor. and they nominally are a health group, unitedhealth group.
10:03 pm
the insurance giant literally instructing its employees to go to town halls and spit talking points. how they have rigged the system to lower how much insurance pays of your bills. how they bought the independent agencies designed to protect you from that. how they have colluded with elected officials to fatten their profits at your expense. how their ceo has made $750 million so far, and will make more if the public option does not pass. the "countdown" special report, united health group. worsts, congressman herger still won't acknowledge you can't shout terrorists in a crowded town hall. and after death panels, the death books and the dreaded youth in asia, what's left for republicans to accuse the democrats of? of course, zombies! >> an experience more shattering than your strangest nightmare. >> health care reform will create zombies. how to defend yourself, your
10:04 pm
family and your grandma. all that and more now on "countdown." >> it is vital that you stay in your home. good evening from new york. after having played fast and loose with the constitution of the united states, in our fifth story on the "countdown," dick cheney now wants to play a word game to support his now officially discredited claim that torture produced actionable intelligence. while cheney attacks president obama, another news report tonight said the redacted portions of that cia report contain details of the deaths of some tortured detainees, the near death of khalid shaikh mohammed and the agency's inability to locate some of the detainees. the former vice president responding to attorney general eric holder's decision to allow a credible review of some abuses in a statement which reads in part the documents release monday clearly demonstrate that the individuals
10:05 pm
subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques provided the bulk of intelligence we gained about al qaeda. this intelligence saved lives and prevented terrorist attacks but parse carefully, cheney says that the individuals provided the bulk of the intelligence, the enhanced interrogation just happened to be part of it. it is pure sophistry, tantamount to saying our bloodletting cure drew no complaints from any patients because all of the patients died. cheney's saying all of the patients we gave intel we tortured, khalid shaikh mohammed gave up the intel before torture was used, not addressed by the former vice president. mr. cheney also pretends to be the champion of the rank and file. the people involved deserve our gratitude. he's obviously referring to himself. they do not deserve to be the targets of political investigations or prosecutions. but the policies so ardently endorsed by cheney actually caused great concern to those very agents, from the inspector general's report, quote, during the course of this review, a number of agency officers expressed unsolicited concern about the possibility of recrimination or legal action resulting from their participation. mr. cheney also attacks once
10:06 pm
again president obama and his national security policies. yet tonight abc news report thad an official who saw the unedited versions of the report indicates how it also detailed how some two tortured detainees in iraq and one more in afghanistan died, how two detainees, quote, just got lost and the cia does not know what happened to them. how khalid shaikh mohammed was nearly killed during one of or more than one of the 183 times he was waterboarded. our nbc news sources say the deaths were previously publicly reported that the report of the near death of khalid shaikh mohammed is not in the unclassified version of the inspector general's report. and then there is the criticism for the opposite direction. the justice department could investigate and possibly prosecute certain wayward agents and yet ignore the makers of a policy which may have been illegal on its face. criticism coming from the chairs of the house and senate judiciary committees, congressmen john conyers and senators patrick leahy. they applauded mr. holder's appointment of a special prosecutor but said an independent truth commission is
10:07 pm
still necessary. meantime, the obama administration's decision -- or continued renditions, little notice amid yesterday's other news has drawn heavy criticism from human rights groups. let's turn now to an attorney who has conducted extensive investigations into the cia interrogation and detention program, also a contributor to "the daily beast," john sifton. thank you for your time tonight, sir. >> thank you. >> we'll get to mr. cheney in a moment. but about 36 pages out of 109 in this inspector general's report, totally redacted, 30 or more partially so, and we have this abc report, deaths of three detainees, near death of khalid shaikh mohammed, detainees who can't be found. translate that. does that mean we tortured people to death? >> essentially, yes. it's been known for some time that a number of cia detainees died in custody. they were not detainees in the high valued detention program. they were detainees in afghanistan and iraq, but abc news is breaking tonight that khalid shaikh mohammed was almost killed during his interrogation.
10:08 pm
we have known for some time that one of the detainees almost died. that's pretty clear from some earlier memos that came out in april. but now abc news is confirming it's khalid shaikh mohammed. but, listen, this is just the tip of the iceberg. there are cases of some of the detainees now being competent to stand trial because they have such serious mental illness. >> noted particularly in the so-called radiation bomber, jose padilla. is the truth as simple as it means about that statement from dick cheney that he is now slid into this word play because the memo that's were released supposedly in his defense, supposedly in tortures' defense, do not in fact come anywhere close to showing torture worked? >> there are a few problems with that statement. one is the that the plots that he's talking about are pretty far fetched. i mean, they talk about the breakup of a plot in 2002 that they broke up using interrogation from 2003. so unless the cia also has a time machine that allows them to travel back in time, i don't see how that's possible. and then you have the logic of
10:09 pm
it. just because you get information, doesn't mean the torture led to the information. what they really need to show if they want to make their case is they couldn't have gotten the information otherwise. and that's just not the case. the fbi's made clear they could have used fbi -- traditional fbi techniques and gotten the bulk of this intelligence anyway. >> we can go on all night about why mr. cheney would have thought something like this worked for him, thing that's were in these memos. this one quote, agency -- from page 104. agency officers report that reliance on analytical assessments that were unsupported by credible intelligence may have resulted in the application of eit, enhanced interrogation techniques, without justification. again, to translate that, that is we tortured people who did not under even the bush administration definition of who should be tortured, we tortured those people. >> one of the biggest things coming out of these documents is we now know that although interrogations were approved for the first cia detainee, abu zubaydah, they were flying blind afterwards.
10:10 pm
they did not have authorization for khalid sheikh mohammed or al nashiri. they used the observation for zubaydah and tortured everyone else and after the fact obtained the rest for the tortures. they're in hot water now. you have to read those memos now carefully to see that. in that, yes, you see essentially the cia was plying blind. they were fishing using torture, and they didn't really have adequate reasons to torture. >> well, that certainly does throw what mr. durham can and cannot investigate into a cocked hat, doesn't it? if there wasn't clear policy from minus x rather from point x, he's got a lot more latitude than people think he does. >> that's correct. once you knock out the legal authorization, you can really broaden the investigation quite a lot. the fact of the matter is, if you wanted a real investigation, you wouldn't go after interrogators. that's something that dick cheney and human rights activists agree on. you want to go after the architects.
10:11 pm
the architects are the lawyers in the cia who set this program up and the llc lawyers in the white house who helped them do it. >> "daily beast" contributor john sifton, thank you for your time tonight. let's turn to george washington university, our old friend jonathan turley. jonathan, good evening. >> hi, keith. >> even if this abc report is incorrect, we tortured people and we killed some of them. if guidance from the bush justice department was deliberately vague, if officials created an environment for abuse beings might that get this prosecutor, mr. durham, back to those officials despite what seems to be a narrow mandate at this start? . >> well, it's a very curious mandate. i don't see how he can possibly do what holder's asking him to do, because essentially what holder is saying is that he wants them to do a preliminary investigation to look at whether anyone went beyond the legal advice, but the legal advice said you can commit torture. so basically holder is saying, i want you to look at the degree of torture, that is we want to
10:12 pm
see if it goes beyond what is described as authorized. well, the bush justice department and the bush administration said they could do acts of torture. so it's a bizarre thing for a professional prosecutor to do. i mean, to go in and say, i'm going to look at a program that's based on what is a well-defined war crime and i'm going to see if any of these people went beyond what was authorized by people who were talking about a war crime. >> right. >> so it's a very odd thing. but the question here is whether durham will have the leeway, and frankly the courage, to recognize the obvious. i mean, he literally has to step over bodies when he goes into these investigations, accord to being abc and other news programs. he has all of the elements of a crime, including dead bodies by reports and the question is, is he going to go after those sort
10:13 pm
of low-lying fruit targets who went too far or is he going to go after the people who really set this thing in motion? >> yeah, he's got embezzlement and counterfeiting and clear evidence of both and they're looking for spelling errors. parse for me legally and are there any legal implications or even inferences to be drawn from this piece of sophistry from mr. cheney. the documents released this monday clearly demonstrate the individual individuals subjected to theter gags techniques provided the bulk of intelligence we gained about al qaeda. that's careful construction and that can't be an accident, can it? he wants it to mean more but even he is admitting it means nothing. you might as well say the individuals who were detained provided the bulk of intelligence we gained about al qaeda. what is the legal meaning of that -- of that ridiculous statement? >> well, it sounds like a philadelphia lawyer. there's no question about it. but i think that the problem, of course, is that this is part of the whole torture works campaign.
10:14 pm
the idea to convince americans that the question is whether we got something out of what we are prohibited from doing under international treaties. it's immoral. but putting that aside, all of the facts contradict the suggestion that he leaves, that is experts, including people who interrogated these detainees said that torture was not useful and was not necessary. we paid a great price on the soul of this country for something that cheney and bush ordered, and they got very little from it and they're desperately trying to tell americans that -- that this was justified, that embracing a well-defined war crime produced results. i mean, it's a terrible debate to even begin, because it suggests that if torture works, somehow torture is permitted. >> bingo. meantime, buried in all of this, renditions will continue but we have new assurances against abuse. are you scoffing along with the human rights groups and people who were say alive between the years 2001 and 2008? >> yeah.
10:15 pm
i think that's the biggest surprise for this white house is the reaction of civil libertarians and human rights groups, which has been universally negative, including the announcement of this investigation under these unbelievable limitations. and i think what they're missing is the central truth. they know to investigate torture and stop trying to gain the system. >> we now know why they don't want to do that because they want to leave themselves certain parts of that system intact clearly. >> that's true. i think that is true. >> jonathan turley of george washington university. i guess this is something for us to continue to talk about for the years to come. i'm sorry about that, but it's always a pleasure to talk to you, sir. >> thank you, keith. mr. cheney was not alone in his verbal gymnastics. his effort to make it sound like he was saying more than he really said, which boils down to this -- that all of those who are subjected to torture were tortured. we have the latest of the escalating head-scratchers from senator grassley tonight about health care reform. quote, i oppose the public option because one of the principles that we follow is that we want people to have choice. and there is the nonsensical, self-contradicting slogan to carry onward for those phony christian soldiers marching as
10:16 pm
to war. no option, we want choice! i never thought it could happen to me... a heart attack at 53. i had felt fine. but turns out... my cholesterol and other risk factors... increased my chance of a heart attack. i should've done something. now, i trust my heart to lipitor. when diet and exercise are not enough, adding lipitor may help. unlike some other cholesterol lowering medications, lipitor is fda approved to reduce the risk... of heart attack, stroke, and certain kinds of heart surgeries... in patients with several common risk factors... or heart disease. lipitor has been extensively studied... with over 16 years of research. lipitor is not for everyone, including people with liver problems... and women who are nursing, pregnant, or may become pregnant. you need simple blood tests to check for liver problems. tell your doctor if you are taking other medications, or if you have any muscle pain or weakness. this may be a sign of a rare but serious side effect. i was caught off-guard. but maybe you can learn from my story. have a heart to heart with your doctor...
10:17 pm
about your risk. and about lipitor. an oklahoma senator vows to help a woman at the end of her insurance rope, provided she does not seek help from the government, only from her neighbors. an iowa senator says something so self-contradictory that he better hope there really aren't death panels, or sanity panels. and our special report on one of the giant looming dragons in the health care battle. united health group, supplying everything from unconscionable profits to ready-made town hall protesters to independent groups designed to make sure the insurance agency does not rip you off, groups which united health group conveniently managed to purchase, now owns. all ahead on "countdown." (announcer) we understand. you need to save money.
10:18 pm
new carefree ultra protection liners, with wings! absorb ten times more, like a pad but feel thin and comfy, like a liner. or the worry my pipes might leak... compromise what i like to do... like hunting for bargains, not always bathrooms. i take care with vesicare. (announcer) once-daily vesicare can help control your bladder muscle and is proven to reduce frequent, sudden urges and leaks...
10:19 pm
day and night... if you have certain stomach or glaucoma problems, or trouble emptying your bladder, do not take vesicare. tell your doctor right away if you have a serious allergic reaction, severe abdominal pain, or become constipated for three or more days. vesicare may cause blurred vision, so take care while driving or doing unsafe tasks. common side effects are dry mouth, constipation, and indigestion. you deserve better than to always be compromised by urges and leaks. ask your doctor today about taking care with vesicare.
10:20 pm
republican politicians already have government health care plans, which is a good thing because clearly they're sick. our fourth story tonight, the gop takes a break on health care, kind of a psychotic one. patient number one, senator chuck grassley. diagnosis, probable dementia, telling a town hall in iowa he opposes the public option because he wants the public to have options. doing nothing to rebuke a man also who threatened grassley's fellow lawmakers, saying, quote, i'd take a gun to washington if enough of you would go with me. patient two, gop chair michael steele, diagnosis -- whiplash. three years ago saying cuts to medicare had to be on the table. yesterday releasing a senior's health care bill of rights promising to protect medicare, today calling medicare, quote, a very good example of what we should not have happen with all of our health care. and then there's patient three, senator/dr. tom coburn, diagnosis, pronounced cardiac deficiency, or in layman's
10:21 pm
terms, he's utterly heartless. a constituent told him her husband suffered a traumatic brain injury. he's on a feeding tube. they have insurance. it will not cover trained help or a nursing home. you will her coburn respond that neighbors should help out, but not of course, via government, and his office will help, even though his office is the government. >> what i need to know is are you going to help me, when he can't eat and drink and he leaves a nursing home and they tell us we're on our home and i try to get him to eat and drink and i can't get him to eat and drink. >> well, i think first of all, yeah, we'll help. the first thing we'll do is see what we can do individually to help you through our office. but the other thing that's missing in this debate is us as neighbors helping people that need our help.
10:22 pm
you know, we tend to -- the idea that the government is a solution to our problems is an inaccurate, a very inaccurate statement. >> let's turn to chris hayes, washington editor of "the nation" magazine. chris, good evening. >> good evening, keith. >> sure, ma'am, ask your neighbors for the $400,000 for the around-the-clock nursing care. what the hell's the matter with these people? >> well, look, i mean the only way to make sense of the tape that you just played, and in all three instances is to understand first and foremost, the objective here is to kill the bill and to issue a political defeat to the president and to the democratic party. everything sort of derives from that. so what you're seeing is there's a complete like inconsistency internally. the arguments that are emanating from the right and from the republicans are a logical mess. they're self-contradictory, they're for medicare, they're not for medicare. they love medicare and they hate government-run health care. your neighbors should feed
10:23 pm
your -- your ill husband. i mean, there is no consistency because it's not being engaged in, in good faith. it's a bad-faith effort to construct a series of arguments around a political objective, which is to destroy the bill. >> senator coburn seemed to give himself away there. individual people can help. and his office can help when it gets to decide how it should or can help. but there's no way that people can come together in the form of, you know, a government and decide to change things for themselves for everybody for the better. is that the heart of this? >> look, you know, civilization on this planet has had charity-based health care for a long time. i mean, during the bubonic plague, way back in the bad old days before we had, you know, sophisticated welfare states, et cetera, and you know, sure, fine, i guess if you're in the ninth century, then, you know, and you can -- you can drag yourself ill to the local church
10:24 pm
and get some charity care, that's fine. but that's not the way that you -- that a country in the 21st century takes care of this fundamental public issue. i mean, we come together, as you said, through a government, through self-governance to address these things. this is not something that is just to be tossed off as a realm of charity. >> the government will pay for the -- for the paint with which to mark the cross on the door, however, if you're in that situation. on the issue of violence, the senate used to be this chamber of grown-ups of comedy and now we have grassley tolerating just basically ignoring threats of violence against fellow senators, threats almost of overthrowing the government. this is who the democrats are counting on for bipartisanship? >> you know, i have to say, i thought that was really disgusting, that grassley didn't say anything. and i don't use that word lightly. as a politician, it very often happens that you're in environments in which you can't control and town halls, people are going to say all sorts of things and you can't control what people say and that's part of what makes our crazy,
10:25 pm
wonderful democracy what it is. but you have an obligation when people say things like that to make a point of -- of expressing the fact that you are -- you do not think that's an okay thing to say. and i think it just shows where grassley's at in this. i think he's been captured by the most extreme, crazy elements of the right in this, and yet somehow he's sitting across from the negotiating table. it makes no sense. he has to pick a side, and he has shown very clearly which side he's on. >> and unfortunately, that side has another side to it that transcends politics. we had another gun guy show up at a health care protest, only this one was pro reform, and he told talking points memo, part of the reason he went in armed was in response to the gun-wielders on the anti side. if he would could stipulate this is not a good thing for anybody under any circumstances, what does it mean? >> look, i don't know. i don't want to draw any large conclusions. i mean, it's a very big country with a lot of guns, it should be
10:26 pm
noted, and so far this country has been in, you know, the last several decades, blessed comparatively with very little political violence. but that's not set in stone, and everybody needs just, you know, take a deep breath and bring it down a notch here. >> amen. chris hayes of "the nation." great thanks. >> thank you. still to come here on "sportscenter" -- man, they have really gone downhill since i split. oh, boy. and the count is now 36 sponsors bailing out. so lonesome road tries to get his revenge without telling his audience it's revenge. "worst persons" ahead. you're watching "countdown" on msnbc. (announcer) this is nine generations
10:27 pm
of the world's most revered luxury sedan. this is a history of over 50,000 crash-tested cars... this is the world record for longevity and endurance. and one of the most technologically advanced automobiles on the planet. this is the 9th generation e-class. this is mercedes-benz. and i'm joni. we've been best friends since we were two. we've always been alike. we even both have osteoporosis. but we're active. especially when we vacation. so when i heard about reclast, the only once-a-year iv osteoporosis treatment, i called joni. my doctor said reclast helps restrengthen our bones to help make them resistant to fracture. and reclast is approved to help protect from fracture
10:28 pm
in more places: hip, spine, even other bones. (announcer) you should never take reclast if you're on zometa, have low blood calcium, kidney problems. or you're pregnant, plan to become pregnant or nursing. take calcium and vitamin d daily. tell your dtor if you develop severe muscle, bone or joint pain or if you have dental problems, as rarely, jaw problems have been reported. the most common side effects include flu-like symptoms, fever, muscle or joint pain and headache. nothing strengthens you like an old friendship. but when it comes to our bones, we both look to reclast. you've gotta ask your doctor! or call 1-866-51-reclast.
10:29 pm
10:30 pm
"bests" in a moment. now he's going after the toledo mud hens baseball team. first on this date a century ago, august 25th, 1909, in new england was born renney, unsuccessful in business was a rope factory and car salesman who claimed in his year-long career, he didn't sell one of them. he turned to acting. much of his work was american tv. as we the captain of the "titanic" on "the time tunnel," in hitchcock's most terrifying episode of "the foghorn." but the lowest of low-key aliens clotu in 1951's "the day the earth stood still." which, by the way, actually means let's play "oddball." the aliens have arrived. we begin in spain and there they are. they're snails from outer space.
10:31 pm
no, they're just the 25th annual snail race. would you look at that escargot! children bring their pet snails -- who has a pet snail? we were so poor, we had pet snails. we had to eat them for dinner. the mulloscks had five minutes to get as far as they can. the only catch, they are tied to their tails for dinners. the winner won in three minutes and five minutes. like senator grassley who wants this race slowed down or he will start winging the table cement. in tokyo, they're practicing the ancient art of origami. we mean really ancient. a jurassic-size effort to create a giant paper dinosaur. with so many folds, it was essential to keep it from ripping and tearing and adults having to get the kiddies out before they turned into a papier-mache. when asking if they enjoyed creating the world's largest paper dinosaur, one participant said yes, except now i have the world's largest paper cut.
10:32 pm
there are many villains in the passion play that is health care reform, but few of them match united health group. our "countdown" special report on its many hands in the public till. and they've accused of democrats of everything else. it's only a matter of time before republicans start claiming reform will lead not just to death panels, but to zombies. these stories ahead but first "countdown's" "best persons in the world." befrs dumb criminals. number three, simon holden, who swapped a beer from a manager and then applied for a job from the same store and the manager. when confronted, he bolted from the chair and left the store, stealing two more six-packs on the way out. dateline washington. best impression of the bush administration, the obama administration. "stars & stripes" reporting they hired the renden group to screen journalists who want to be embedded with forces to screen them whether their coverage is positive, negative or neutral.
10:33 pm
they borrowed "stars & stripes" report from an embed in iraq because he refused to highlight good military news. this is last month. it gets worse, this be group is the one which the bush administration hired and now the obama pentagon hired too. and number one, best sports blooper bill-o the clown. his nightly round of self-applause last night, designed to drown out the echo of daddy hitting him. when somebody mentioned msnbc's reaction to somebody, bill-o belched, they have no audience, nobody. what you just said is like saying, all right, the toledo mud hens are going to be mad. i'm not insulting the toledo mud hens but they're a double a baseball team. what they think about the new york yankees doesn't matter. i hate to brag, but we're the highest rated cable news program 35 and younger, and the highest rated news program for all viewers not on fixed news. and fixed news is now catering to tin foil hatters, race itses,
10:34 pm
it's not a news organization making this show the highest-rated news program, period. more importantly, the toledo mud hens are a double a baseball team. aaa. they have been since the reclassifications, triple a, single a, went into effect in 1946. bill-o can't tell a single a from a double a. this from bill o'reilly, who claimed he got a tryout for a pro contract from the new york mets in 1970 or 1971 and told author marvin kitman, he was warming up on one of the mounds in the bull pen at shea stadium, when next to him another young pitcher, who o'reilly insisted nobody ever heard of was also warming up, and who he then revealed with great flourish was a rookie named tom seaver, who would have been in his fourth season with the new york mets, including the year he led them to the world series in 1969 when o'reilly got his tryout. unless o'reilly just dreamt it. ♪ dream dream, dream, dream ♪ dream ♪ already sick...
10:35 pm
...or if you lose your job. your health insurance shouldn't either. so let's fix health care. if everyone's covered, we can make health care as affordable as possible. and the words "pre-existing condition" become a thing of the past... we're america's health insurance companies. supporting bipartisan reform that congress can build on. for me to keep my bones strong but even with calcium, vitamin d, and exercise, i still got osteoporosis. i never thought i could do more than stop my bone loss. then my doctor told me i could, with once-monthly boniva. boniva works with your body to help stop and reverse bone loss. studies show, after one year on boniva, nine out of ten women stopped and reversed their bone loss. i know i did. (announcer) don't take boniva if you have low blood calcium, severe kidney disease or can't sit or stand for at least one hour. follow dosing instructions carefully. stop taking boniva and tell your doctor
10:36 pm
if you have difficult or painful swallowing, chest pain or severe or continuing heartburn, as these may be signs of serious upper digestive problems. if jaw problems or severe bone, joint, and/or muscle pain develop, tell your doctor. i've got this one dy, and this one life, so i wanted to stop my bone loss. but i did more. i reversed it with boniva. ask your doctor if boniva can help you stop losing, and start reversg. (announcer) for a free trial offer, call 1-800-4-boniva. dan marino influenced me and he really pushed me to get on nutrisystem. yeah, i'll take credit for peter jacobsen. introducing the all-new nutrisystem for men, flexible new programs personalized to meet your goals. get on the program, eat properly, you're going to lose weight. it's actually easier than you think it might be. that was really good. thanks. i had awesome results and i've kept it off for three years. for a limited time, get an extra three weeks of meals free. that's right, you can get
10:37 pm
an extra 21 breakfasts, lunches, dinners, desserts, and snacks. that's 105 meals free. that's what guys like. "tell me, 'do this,' i do it, i lose weight." with pces as low as $12 a day, you'll save hundreds over other weight-loss programs. order now and get an extra three weeks of fantastic meals. that's right, 105 meals absolutely free. call or click now.
10:38 pm
the united health group, one of the largest health insurance companies in the country, said it is extremely neutral in the current debate over reform. but last week it provided politico.com with the talking points it gives its own employees for attending protests and town halls. included therein, quote, a government-run health plan would be a roadblock to meaningful health care reform. the united health group customer told talking points memo and repeated to "countdown" that the insurer directed him to right wing sites and events. united health group denies this. but in our third story tonight, what kind of company thinks opposing the president's health care plan is extremely neutral? according to opensecrets.org, president and ceo stephen hemsley has personally given $15,000 to democrats, $41,000 to republicans and $36,000 to united's political action committee, a committee which has given hundreds of thousands to republicans but as of the 2008 election cycle has given 61% to democrats who now, of course, control the health care debate. all of that, of course, is legal. however, after fighting lawsuits
10:39 pm
filed by new york attorney general andrew cuomo and the american medical association, lawsuits which accused united health group of a scheme to defraud patients, which united health group denied, united health group decided to settle those suits one week before president obama took office. here's how the scheme worked -- for most americans when you go out of network, your insurance pays a preset percentage, not of your actual bill, but of what they think your bill should be. the, quote, usual and customary bill. so if your insurance company covered 80% of out-of-network costs and the usual and customary rate estimate for a chest x-ray was $100, your insurance company paid you $80, even if your actual x-ray costs $150. why? >> physician reimbursement based on nothing but the doctor's bill is simply not economically tenable for consumers, nor sustainable for our health care system. >> so what would be economically tenable? for decades, insurance companies bought their estimates of usual and customary from two competing databases.
10:40 pm
seven months after mr. hemsley joined unitedhealth group, the company purchased one of those databases. ten months later bought the other one. just a year and a half later, the ama sued, claiming unitedhealth group was now low-balling the usual and customary rates used by the insurance industry so insurance companies, including unitedhealth group, could cheat patients and providers on their reimbursements, telling patients the company providing their rate estimates was, quote, independent. while unitedhealth group was telling other insurance companies they would get a 16 to 1 return on investment if they bought those rate estimates from unitedhealth group. cuomo said unitedhealth group lowballed consumers by as much as 30%. unitedhealth group's own general counsel said conflicts of interest were inherent. mr. hemsley did not. >> we understand that appearance and that appearance of an inherent conflict. >> unitedhealth group agreed to pay $50 million to set up a new actually independent database and to reimburse patients and providers $350 million, although a judge is still deciding whether or not that is enough.
10:41 pm
a senate committee concluded that millions of americans, including more than 1 million military families, paid billions more for out-of-network health care than they should have. republicans like to quote the lewin group's claim that more than 100 million americans would ditch employer health plans for a public option. house whip eric cantor, orrin hatch of senate finance, they have called lewin nonpartisan. but the lewin group, too, is owned by unitedhealth group. which has given thousands to hatch and cantor in just the past two years. before unitedhealth group, hemsley spent 23 years at arthur andersen accounting, serving as chief financial officer from fall of 1995 to when he left in '97. for services overlapping that period, arthur andersen became embroiled in several scandals. sued for fraud over accounting in its waste management incorporated, denied wrongdoing. settled for $95 million. sued over sunbeam accounting. denied wrongdoing. settled for $180 million, fined more than $7 million. sued over the baptist foundation of arizona. these investors, many of who are
10:42 pm
elderly, trusted the misleading financial statements audited by andersen. that from then attorney general janet napolitano. denied wrong doing, settled for $217 million. and enron, where arthur andersen accounting was auditor and consultant. by the time both companies came down, mr. hemsley was gone. in 1999, mr. hemsley negotiated a new deal as unitedhealth group president. unitedhealth group's compensation committee gave him stock options, back dated stock options, meaning they were backdated to when the stock was low so they were worth more, more money the second he got them. this saved him the trouble of having to wait until the stock price actually rose. two years later after hemsley hired the chairman of unitedhealth group compensation committee as a personal money manager, unitedhealth group investors were still being told the compensation committee was, quote, independent. both be united health groups auditor and consultant to the committee, arthur andersen accounting. "the wall street journal" revealed the backdating, investors sued.
10:43 pm
unitedhealth group got rid of its ceo at the time. they replaced him with the man who received the second most valuable package of backdated options -- hemsley, who said he knew nothing about the backdating. investors sued again, claiming helmsley signed off on those options. why would unitedhealth group keep helmsley if that were true? quote, the impact of the stock was significantly mitigated with the retention of hemsley. if both had been forced to leave the company, then investors would have looked at it as a wholesale management change. they would have returned some of his options, $190 million worth. according to "businessweek," unitedhealth group achieved a secondary aim of constraining new benefit that's would become available to tens of millions of people who are currently uninsured. after chuck grassley complained last year unitedhealth group stop marketing a plan to seniors that left them thinking they were fully covered when they only had supplemental coverage. last year hospital executives raided big insurance companies in a national survey. aetna was best. well point second worse. unitedhealth group was worst. favorable, 8%, unfavorable, 91%. unitedhealth group has reportedly hit small businesses
10:44 pm
and consumers with regular double-digit rate hikes recently, far outstripping inflation. in 2007, unitedhealth group denied but agreed to settle claims of handling patient claims improperly in at least 37 states. >> i tried to explain to them that if i do not have, i will die. and the only response she gave me was okay. >> president obama is now asking unitedhealth group for advice on how to reform health care. he met with hemsley twice this may. on june 1st, lead senators on health care asked senator kent conrad to come up with an alternative to the public option. three days later senator conrad met with hemsley and top unitedhealth group lobbyists simon stevens. conrad has since that meeting led an effort to create nonprofit cooperatives, "businessweek" reported. state medical cooperatives would propose a far weaker competitive threat to private insurers. conrad said the idea of co-ops
10:45 pm
came out of conversations from my office. he said you're barking up the wrong tree. co-ops were not discussed. the senator met for 15 minutes to discuss care coordination, and how that could lead to both cost savings and better health care outcomes. and to benefit insurers who could handle the cost of care coordination. only the largest insurers, such as aetna, wellpoint and unitedhealth group could do that. late this spring on the finance committee in which conrad sits, it was reportedly planning to have you pick up 24% of your medical bills on top of your premiums. but then, quote, stevens and his united health care colleagues urged a more industry friendly ratio. the finance committee decided now that you will pay 35% of your medical bills on top of your premiums. last year unitedhealth group made a profit of $5 billion, thus in a dozen years in unitedhealth group's employ, mr. hemsley total compensation has been valued at three quarters of a billion dollars. so far. unitedhealth group and the
10:46 pm
republicans have thrown everything they have at reform except for one last weapon -- the threat of zombies. death panel zombies. they can always try congressman wally herger, whose staff is claiming a, quote, proud right wing terrorist. and senator ben cardin from maryland on the evidence between lucrative oil contracts and the decision to release the lockerbie bomber. announcer: what are you waiting for? all around the world, men with erectile dysfunction have asked their doctors about cialis. ask your doctor if a cialis option is right for you
10:47 pm
because in addion to 36-hour cialis, there's another dosing option: cialis for daily use, a low-dose tablet you take every day so you can be ready anytime the moment is right. man: tell your doctor about your medical condition and all medications and ask if you're healthy enough for sexual activity. don't take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood prsure. don't drink alcohol in excess with cialis. side effects may include headache, upset stomach, delayed back ache or muscle ache. to avoid long term injury, seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than 4 hours. if you have any sudden decrease or loss in hearing or vision... stop taking cialis and call your doctor right away. announcer: 36-hour cialis or... cialis for daily use. so when the moment is right, you can be ready.
10:48 pm
in the best fixed news edition, glenn beck never attacks somebody. and "worst persons" ahead and then zombies. waiting for the inevitable invoking of the undead, author max brooke on what if reform doesn't enable zombies and they attack which makes it impossible for me to talk. desperately trying to stop you from discovering that reform won't hurt medicare.
10:49 pm
it will actually strengthen it by eliminating billions of dollars in waste and lowering drug prices. tell congress not to let myths get in the way of fixing what's broken with health care. learn the facts at healthactionnow.org. the amazing always infinity. ♪ it's astonishingly flexible. ♪ unbelievably soft. ♪ and has an amazing material... that's 4x more absorbent than you may need. making fluids seem to... poof... disappear. just like magic. ♪ always infinity. have a happy period.
10:50 pm
after death panels and death books, there's only one thing left for republicans to throw at health care reform -- yes, democratic zombie attacks. we'll prepare for that next. first, tonight's "worst person in the world." the lonesome roads beck from fox noise. cofounder of the group called color of change, beck asked, why is it such a committed revolutionary has made it so high that the obama administration is one of his chief advisers? beck pretended he was just criticizing an obama appointee, never mentioning he has a personal vendetta against jones, because it is the group jones founded, which has led the protest against beck, calling
10:51 pm
the president a racist, a boycott that has now cost beck 36 advertisers. beck didn't mention that. beck is crack. runner-up, the ever-hilarious beauty pageant contestant from fixed news, gretchen carlson, talking about the obama white house. there are still a lot of positions available there. a lot of the top players are still anonymous because they haven't been named yet to certain posts. now we're talking about the assistant treasury secretary for financial markets, inspector general, army secretary -- obama named his army secretary on june 2nd, congressman john mccue. even fox covered it. grech missed it. and she missed the confirmation of arm secretary mccue has been held up by republicans. gretchen isn't good with the, you know, facts. but our winner, matt lavoi, spokesman for yesterday's "worst," after a constituent now identified as bert stead of redding, california, stood up at a herger town hall and identified himself as a proud right wing terrorist, congressman herger responded not with any rebuke but by saying, amen, god bless you. there is a great american. his spokesman now says the
10:52 pm
congressman has no intention of apologizing for praising a self-described terrorist. he said the comment was in jest. the man was using satire to make his point, which does not have a damn thing to do with it. as i said last night, even if he was being allegorical or hyperbolic, this is not language to bandy about, not when people on both sides are showing up with submachine guns or guns at town halls. not when members of right wing militias are showing up at town halls. when faced with this crap on the eve of last year's election, even senator mccain's conscience got better of him and he reprimanded a woman spouting hate speech against mccain's rival. congressman herger and his spokesman need to do the same. until they do, they're contributing to this climate of paranoia and violence enveloping our political system. until they say something, congressman herger and this spokesman are is not defending the constitution, they are threatening it. mat lavoi, the spokesman, second district of california, today's "worst person in the world." (announcer) carefree introduces ptection, times ten.
10:53 pm
10:54 pm
new carefree ultra protection liners, with wings! absorb ten times more, like a pad but feel thin and comfy, like a liner. new carefree® ultra protection™
10:55 pm
10:56 pm
first it was the death panels, and then it was the death book or as it's also known, the grim reader. so it can only be a matter of time before republicans bring us a new talking point on health care reform. democrats will turn you and your loved ones into zombies. our number one story, forget living wills, the gop wants you to be scared of the living dead. a new mathematical study could pave the way for new future scare tactics on health care, drawing parallel between zombie plagues and infectious diseases. researchers in canada have determined, quote, if zombies existed an being attacked by them would lead to the collapse of the civilization unless dealt with quickly and aggressively. their only hope, dick cheney. hit them, the undead, hit them hard and often. "the new york times" columnist paul krugman, his latest op-ed titled "all of the president's zombies." actually, the column had nothing
10:57 pm
to do with scaring everyone thinking that obama-care would lead to zombies but why give sarah palin another article she could misrepresent on her facebook page? meanwhile, the national review sharing its reaction to the zombie study passing along these words of wisdom, "zombies are cool. it's just a fact." and were these jokers european? they were obviously canadian. leave it to boss limbaugh to get it dead wrong. limbaugh weighing in on president obama's former campaign organization. it's the night of the living dead in the daytime. obama zombies -- which is tough to say -- obama zombies marching around with little instructions and pamphlets, manuals. the evidence is all around us, and it's hungry for our brains. joining me now is max brooks, whose latest in the series of must-read exposes, the zombies survival guide, according to tax, is due out september 6th. thank you for your time tonight, sir. >> thank you, keith. >> is this a real possibility, can we see the gop using the zombie defense against democrats
10:58 pm
and will limbaugh wind up telling his followers, i was talking about democratic zombies before you were? >> if they did, it would be counterproductive because republicans would like a zombie outbreak, keith. >> and why -- why would they like a zombie outbreak, max? >> because, keith, as we have said before, during a zombie outbreak, society would collapse, the government would implode, we would all have to retreat to our homes, surrounded by our guns. it sounds pretty right wing to me. >> or it sounds like a town hall. this could be a multilayered argument for the republicans, because it would not just involve the gun issue and get back to your homes, but also health care and -- and indeed national security, right? >> it could. but i -- this is in lockstep with the republican strategy. right now zombies are hot, they're hip, they're now, especially among young people. what do republicans do when something is hot and hip and now among young people? they attack it. >> did -- did republicans shoot themselves in the -- in the undead foot here by using that death panel argument in advance
10:59 pm
of the prospect of democratic zombies enabled by health care reform? because would you not need death panels to fight zombies? are the two things not basically mutually exclusive? >> no, see with republicans there's good death and bad death. a death panel is bad. death penalty, awesome. >> will we see the tea bag crowd take up this zombie crowd, or are these separate movements? >> you know, it really depends on what limbaugh says. if he's for it, they'll do it. >> how does somebody, given your expertise on this subject, this is i think your 38th book on the topic, how can somebody prepare his or her family for a zombie attack and particularly a democratic zombie attack? and will we see members of congress hosting anti-zombie town halls or, again, is that kind of mutually exclusive with defense against zombies, putting a lot of people in one place? >> well, keith, you have to do something very unright wing in order to deawi

tv
Countdown With Keith Olbermann
MSNBC August 25, 2009 10:00pm-11:00pm EDT

News/Business. Interviews with top newsmakers; countdown of the day's top news stories.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Unitedhealth 13, Unitedhealth Group 10, United Health Group 8, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed 7, Keith 7, Mr. Cheney 6, Grassley 6, New York 6, Herger 5, Dick Cheney 4, Arthur Andersen 4, Beck 4, Abc 4, Us 4, Mr. Hemsley 4, Limbaugh 3, Washington 3, Boniva 3, Obama Administration 3, Fbi 3
Network MSNBC
Duration 01:00:00
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 704
Pixel height 480


disc Borrow a DVD of this show
info Stream Only
Uploaded by
TV Archive
on 8/26/2009
Views
154